Thursday, December 28, 2006, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Seat sharing: SAD, BJP reach consensus
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 27
If the mood in the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) is of any indication, differences over seat adjustment for the coming Punjab Vidhan Sabha elections have now been narrowed down to Garhshankar.

The Punjab BJP is elated for its strategic success in getting one of the two disputed seats, Rajpura, after sitting Congress MLA Raj Khurana crossed over to its camp in Jalandhar yesterday. Sources in the two parties admit that there was a complete consensus over giving away 22 seats to the BJP.

“Differences, if any, over Garhshankar seat, will also be resolved in a day or two,” admits a source in the BJP.

Though the SAD had put a strong claim on the Rajpura seat, winning over of sitting Congress MLA tilted the scales in favour of the BJP. At one stage, it was speculated that Raj Khurana wanted to join SAD.

This morning, the SAD supremo, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and general Secretary, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, had a long meeting with the BJP President, Mr Rajnath Singh, and Mr Arun Jaitley, at the former’s residence. Mr Navjot Sidhu, who recently resigned from his Amritsar Lok Sabha seat, was also present during the deliberations.

Later, Mr Badal and Mr Dhindsa also attended a meeting of the NDA in the Capital.

“Seat adjustment was only a formality,” the BJP source said, maintaining that, “deliberations were mainly about the strategy and planning for the elections.”

The SAD-BJP alliance was hoping for a couple of more defections from the ruling party camp before its proposed rally of traders in Ludhiana on January 9. Initially the rally was planned for January 7.

There is also a near consensus that either Mr Navjot Singh Sidhu or his wife will be the SAD-BJP nominee for the Amritsar Lok Sabha by-election. All will depend on the hearing in the Supreme Court on January 3. In case, Mr Sidhu gets an interim injunction, he will be the automatic choice of the alliance.


Candidate’s merits sole criteria, says Dullo
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 27
The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, has thrown his hat in the Assembly elections arena. “I am interested to contest the Assembly elections but it will depend on the party high command that where from I am asked to contest”, he said here today. Mr Dullo’s contesting the election will be a significant political development in the party.

Mr Dullo, who had called a meeting of party officer-bearers, beopar cell and others concerned, said party workers’ opinion would be given adequate consideration while nominating party candidates. “Winnability factor will be the main criteria for allocating party ticket to candidates to contest elections”, he added. However, opinion expressed by party workers with regard to the aspirants would be given due consideration while selecting party nominees to field in the elections.

He said the party would neither seek applications nor interviews for the final selection of candidates for nomination. “We know well the main contenders for the ticket in various constituencies and who have better chance of winning”, he said. Asked about the setting up of the election committee and the manifesto committee, Mr Dullo said it would be constituted next week. “I would discuss the setting up of both committees with the Chief Minister some time next week”, he added.

The Chief Minister has already stated a number of times that he wanted to put up some new faces in the Assembly elections replacing the old war horses. The Chief Minister is keen to deny party ticket to at least 25 to 30 sitting MLAs and ministers. He has already discussed the issue with the party high command. However, before taking any final decision, the party high command would discuss this issue further at the top level.

Asked about the party’s tie up with other parties, Mr Dullo said he wanted that the secular and democratic parties should support the Congress in the elections. He said the Left parties were natural allies of the Congress in fight against the communal forces. Asked about any tie-up with BSP, he said “that is a communal party like the SAD and the Congress will have no alliance with it”.

Meanwhile, Mr Dullo said the party would launch another phase of mass contact programme on January 2 and it would continue for a week. “There were 2 lakh party card holders, who will be assigned the task to propagate the development works done by the Capt Amarinder Singh government in the past four years and 10 months”, he added. “We have got literature from the government for distribution among people in all Assembly segments”, he said.

He said all MLAs and other leaders would be involved in the mass contact programme.


Election schedule not finalised; Quraishi to visit on Jan 3
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 27
The Election Commission (EC) has not finalised any election schedule to hold the Assembly elections in Punjab yet. The elections are due to be held before March 17.

Official sources here today said the commission had not finalised any date to hold the Assembly poll in the state. Nor had any date been decided to enforce the code of conduct. “Mr S.Y. Quraishi, Election Commissioner, is scheduled to visit Punjab on January 3. He will visit Patiala and other parts of the state and return to Delhi the next day. Only after his visit, the schedule to conduct the elections will be finalised”, said the sources.

The process of finalising the electoral roll continues and will be completed by January 3.Once the process of publishing the electoral rolls is completed, the authorities concerned will inform the Chief Election Commission in Delhi accordingly.

The sources said the enforcement of the code of conduct would not be possible before January 4. “ In fact, imposing the code of conduct can be delayed further by a few more days”, they said. Though no date had been finalised yet, the Assembly elections are likely to be held by March 1 in the state. The annual examination of matric and plus II classes will be begin on March 2. As school premises are mostly used to hold the Assembly elections, there is a possibility that polling will be held before the commencement of the annual examinations.

Last time the Assembly elections in Punjab were held on February 13;the results of all seats were declared by February 24 and the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had taken an oath of office on February 27.

The Election Commission was seriously considering holding the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh along with the Assembly elections in Punjab, Uttaranchal and Manipur. “Though the Assembly elections are due to be held in May in Uttar Pradesh, there is a possibility of advancing the elections there by a few weeks”, said the sources.


Approval for NRIs as village headmen
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 27
One of the long pending demands of NRIs - the appointment of Indians settled overseas as additional honorary headman of their villages in Punjab - will soon be a reality with the state government issuing a draft notification in this context.

Coming after a long gestation period, the orders issued by Mr K.K. Bhatnagar, Financial Commissioner, Revenue, and Secretary, Department of Revenue and Rehabilitation, state that these rules would be called the Punjab Land Revenue (Amendment) Rules, 2006, and shall come into force on and with effect from the date of their publication in the Official Gazette.

The necessary change is being made in the Punjab Land Revenue Rules, 1909. After rule 19-B, the following rule shall be inserted, namely, 19-C, which states "notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained elsewhere in these rules, where twenty families from a particular revenue estate are NRIs, as determined by the Department of NRI Affairs from time to time, there shall be appointed one additional honorary headman from amongst the local residents of the NRI’s family, comprising son, daughter or wife of the NRIs of the village concerned without any remuneration, subject to certain conditions.”

The conditions pertain to the services rendered to the state by the probable candidate or by his family, his personal influence, character, ability and freedom from indebtedness and being a resident of the concerned NRI village.

In case of a nominated member from amongst the NRI’s family preference will be given to ex-NRI's, who reside in India for a period of more than nine months in a particular calendar year.

The draft rules also explain the expression NRI, which the draft states, shall have the same meaning as assigned to it in the Punjab Security of Land Tenure Act, 1953, and shall also include persons born abroad after attaining the age of majority.

However, this benefit will be limited to four generations of the NRI concerned.

The headmen shall perform all duties prescribed in Rule 20 of these rules, except those prescribed in clause (i) to (iv) thereof, and shall authenticate the pedigree table of NRIs along with their addresses abroad, assist the Patwari in preparation, maintenance and updating the record of rights, including the harvest inspection in respect of NRI right holders, besides any other duty assigned by the state government by a special order.


NRI’s house worth lakhs sold by fraud
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 27
In yet another case of its kind, an NRI’s house has been sold fraudulently by some unauthorised persons, including his own uncle, allegedly in an attempt to grab it.

The market value of NRI, Pardeep Singh Bhangu’s double-storeyed house built on old 3-marla land located on the Jalandhar-Nakodar road at Abadi Dharampura in Khambra village falling under Lambra police station is around Rs 40 lakh. However, the registration of the fake sale deed was done in favour of Mohinder Pal of the same village for just Rs 1.25 lakh on November 30.

Unaware of the development, the NRI came to know about the fake sale deed when some villagers called him in Canada to tell him that some persons had come to take possession of his house claiming that they had purchased. The villagers forbade them to take the possession. Subsequently, he returned to India on December 3.

Talking to The Tribune, Mr Bhangu said he along with his family members, including his mother, had gone to Canada a few years ago and asked his uncle Harmesh Lal to look after their house. But he made a plan with some persons to grab it, he added.

As a part of the plan, Harmesh Lal obtained fake general power of attorney from an impersonator presented as Mr Bhangu and the same was registered by Sub Registrar I on November 22. Interestingly, the details of the visits entered on Mr Bhangu’s passport clearly indicated that he was in Canada on that day.

Further within two days, Harmesh Lal made general power of attorney of the house in the name of Amarjeet Singh Sodhi of Ram Nagar, Jalandhar, and the same was also registered by Sub-Registrar I on November 24.

Subsequently, within a week, Sodhi sold the house to Mohinder Pal of Khambra village and the fake deed was again registered by Sub-Registrar on November 30.


Home Ministry marks probe into youths’ disappearance case
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 27
The mystery shrouding the disappearance of 37 Punjabi youngsters, looking for greener pastures abroad, has trudged towards a solution, with the Union Ministry of Home Affairs marking an inquiry into the incident.

Taking cognisance of a legal notice forwarded in this regard by a Punjab and Haryana High Court advocate, Mr Vikram Bali, Under Secretary in the Home Affairs Ministry M.S. Kalania has asked a Joint Secretary to ensure appropriate action in the matter.

In the legal notice to the authorities concerned, advocate Bali asserted that the youngsters belonging to Nawanshahr, Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar and other parts of the region left the country in August 2004 after they were promised jobs in Spain, but their whereabouts were still not known to their parents.

Even though the police arrested the alleged travel agents after booking them for cheating, criminal breach of trust and other offences under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code, the police failed to dig up information about the welfare and the whereabouts of the youngsters.

Claiming that the matter was not making any headway even after two years of their disappearance, he said the fate of the youngsters "rotting in foreign countries" could be known only through the efforts of the Ministry of External Affairs and the Home Ministry.

As such, the task of tracing the youngsters may be entrusted to Indian missions concerned, the Interpol or any other appropriate agency for "thorough and unbiased investigation so that something concrete and conclusive comes out" of the entire exercise.

Going into the background of the matter, he alleged that some persons posing as "approved travel agents" promised valid visas to the youngsters for Spain, along with jobs and arrangements for permanent stay.

For the purpose, they accepted "huge amounts" and managed the booking of over 37 youngsters.

The agents kept assuring the parents about the welfare of the youngsters, but failed to furnish the exact information.

After waiting for long, the parents approached the police officials in different districts for getting cases registered in the matter.


Cong set to retain power, claims Preneet Kaur
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, December 27
In the wake of the overwhelming response to the Punjab Vikas Yatra of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, the Congress was set to retain power in the February 2007 Assembly elections, the Patiala MP, Ms Preneet Kaur, claimed here today.

Addressing a function after dedicating a state-of-the-art bus stand built at a cost of Rs 3.25 crore to the public , Ms Preneet Kaur reiterated the commitment of the Amarinder Singh government to the development of Punjab in general and the Rajpura area in particular. Rajpura being a gateway of the state was high on the development agenda of the state government, Ms Preneet Kaur also released a development grant of Rs 10 lakh, said.

Terming the resignation of the Rajpura MLA, Mr Raj Kumar Khurana, from the Congress as "condemnable", the MP claimed that his joining the BJP would not make any difference to the Congress in Chief Minister's home district.

On the selection of the party candidate from Rajpura, Mr Preneet Kaur asserted that only the prospective winner would be given a ticket by the party high command.

Mr Hardyal Singh Kamboj, Administrative Member of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB), claimed that developmental activity had picked up momentum in the Congress regime during the past about five years.

Highlighting the steps taken by the government to improve bus service in the state, the Chairman of the PRTC, Mr Ved Prakash Gupta, informed that two air-conditioned buses would be started between Chandigarh and Patiala soon.

The president of the Municipal Council, Mr Rajinder Raja, informed that the bus stand complex would have 34 shops, 10 offices, restaurant, six ticket counters and space for the parking of 14 buses.

Prominent among those present on the occasion included Mr Mahinder Kumar Pappu, chairman of the Rajpura Improvement Trust, Mr Vishnu Sharma, Patiala Mayor, and Mr Gurkirat Kirpal Singh, ADC.


SAD ticket to Boney Ajnala opposed
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 27
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) would win the Ajnala Assembly seat if right candidate was fielded otherwise the Congress would have it, said Mr Harinder Singh (Honey) Randhawa to reporters here today.

Mr Randhawa, who is seeking SAD ticket for the Assembly said he recently met SAD Chief Parkash Singh Badal and apprised him of the prospects of the party and aspirations of people here. He said he had also cautioned Mr Badal against putting up Mr Boney Ajnala as SAD candidate. He said if he was not given ticket he would contest as an Independent and would support the government formed by the SAD.

Mr Randhawa, who had been expelled by Dr Rattan Singh Ajnala MP, as he was President of the SAD (Rural) Amritsar, for his anti-party activities, organised a rally at Dana Mandi in Ajnala three months ago in which about 7,000 persons had participated.

To a question if Dr Ajnala was fielded from Ajnala Mr Randhawa said they would reconsider their decision. If the SAD remained adamant on Mr Boney’s candidature he would oppose the decision and fight the election as an Independent. He said Mr Boney had lost the seat in previous elections to Mr Harpartap Singh Ajnala with a 18,000 votes as he (Mr Boney) was a weak candidate.

He said people in the town were against the Congress due to repression let lose by Mr Harpartap. He said the Congress had not initiated any development in the area as promised by him during last Assembly elections.


Dullo: Khurana betrayed Cong
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 27
Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president Shamsher Singh Dullo today said Congress MLA and PPCC vice-president Raj Khurana had betrayed the party by quitting it. The BJP had almost declared him candidate from Rajpura for Assembly elections. Mr Khurana had been in touch with Shiromani Akali Dal supremo Parkash Singh Badal for the past few months.

Mr Badal and other senior SAD leaders had attended a social function organised by Mr Khurana at Rajpura a few months ago.

Mr Badal had rendered his full support to Mr Khurana to join into the BJP. Mr Khurana had developed serious differences with chief minister Amarinder Singh and his wife Preneet Kaur. Mr Khurana had been a staunch supporter of Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal.

He had never been given cheques for distribution as grant. He had sought appointment with the chief minister many times, which never materialised. As his supporters were denied ticket, he had put candidates in local body elections. Mr Dullo said if Mr Khurana had any grievances, he should have talked to him.

Asked that Mr Khurana had complained that the chief minister and the party had isolated and ignored him, Mr Dullo said those were just excuses. Mr Dullo said it was wrong on the part of Mr Khurana to say that the chief minister had treated him shabbily. The party was busy digging out old police cases related to the fertiliser unit at Rajpura.


Guilty officials to face action: Badal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 27
The president of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, said if the SAD-BJP alliance was voted to power after the Assembly elections in the state, it would set up a mechanism for “corrective and prohibitive punishment for all those found guilty of committing excesses against farmers. Not even the present Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, will escape accountability for the repression let loose at his behest against farmers during the past five years”.

Mr Badal warned the Punjab Police that the force should not be used as a tool to suppress the farmers and other sections of people who were merely demanding their legitimate rights. “No one should think he will get away with murder in the name of discharging his or her officials duties”, said Mr Badal.

The Akali leader said the attacks on the farmers was a slur on the face of the tall claims of popularity being made by the Chief Minister. Mr Badal said the SAD-BJP alliance would provide a sensitive and people-oriented government.


Bhatia not in fray for LS byelection

Amritsar, December 27
Scotching all speculation for joining the electoral fray for the proposed Lok Sabha byelection for the Amritsar seat, the Governor of Kerala, Mr R L Bhatia, said he was not a candidate for the recently vacated parliamentary seat by BJP leader Navjot Singh Sidhu.

Addressing mediapersons at a hurriedly called press conference, Mr Bhatia said in all humility he had decided not to contest the forth coming poll as he was enjoying political retirement as Governor of Kerala.

Immediately after the announcement of resignation by Mr Sidhu, rumours were rife that the congress stalwart and six-time winner of the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat, Mr Bhatia would resign as Governor and make himself available for elections.

During his last two visits to his old constituency, Mr Bhatia held a series of consultations with his close confidants, family members and the local Congress MLAs soliciting their views for ending his political exile.


10 ministers, 27 MLAs keen to join SAD: Sukhbir
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 27
The general secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, today claimed that at least 10 ministers and 27 legislators of the ruling Congress government in Punjab were willing to join the SAD-BJP combine in the coming days. Though he did not name anybody to substantiate his claim, he said his party would accommodate Congressmen who left the ruling party on grounds of their own conscience.

Mr Badal said the decision of the Rajpura Congress MLA, Mr Raj Khurana, to quit the ruling party was just the first ripple of a massive storm that would drown the Chief Minister of Punjab. The coming days will see “sensational explosions” within the Congress party that has “been captured by the Chief Minister and his coterie”.


CM’s Vikas Yatra in Gurdaspur postponed
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, December 27
The Vikas Yatra of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, which was to pass through Gurdaspur, Kanuwan and Fatehgarh Churian constituencies of the district on December 29, has been postponed. According to sources, the Chief Minister is to attend an important meeting on that day due to which the yatra has been postponed. The yatra is likely to take place on January 6.

However, since the code of conduct for the election is likely to be enforced by that time, the yatra might get converted into a Congress party election exercise.


Cong MLA's action invites flak
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, December 27
Mr Brij Lal Goyal, Chairman, Live Stock Development Board, while talking to the mediapersons here today condemned the action of Mr Raj Khurana, Congress MLA from Rajpura, who had deserted the party and joined the BJP yesterday.

He said if Mr Khurana had any differences with Capt Amrinder Singh, he should have sorted it out but should not have deserted the party. He said Mr Khurana had never supported the Congress candidates in any elections.



Police withdraws case against journalist

Kharar, December 27
After 28 days, finally the journalists agitation for justice yielded results as the Mohali police today filed a cancellation report giving clean chit to Samuel, a senior photographer with The Hindustan Times, in a case he was falsely implicated by the police after thrashing him while he was covering a spot. The Kharar police had detained him for more than six hours after arresting him in a false case on November 30.The police had registered a case under Sections 353, 186 and 332 of the IPC.

The SSP, Mohali, Mr G.S. Dhillon, said, “ We have filed a cancellation report in the case registered against Samuel and have also transferred the head constable and constable responsible for act besides ordering a departmental inquiry against them.” — TNS


Wakf Board members
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 27
The Punjab Government has appointed Abdul Sattar, advocate, and Mohammed Hayat Khan, as members of the Punjab Wakf Board. An order in this regard has been issued by Dr B.C. Gupta, Principal Secretary, Home Department.


Cotton output: Punjab meets target
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 27
Even as Punjab is well on its way to achieve its estimated cotton production of 25 lakh bales, the production in neighbouring states Haryana and Rajasthan has fallen short of expectations thus resulting in a climbdown in the anticipated crop size of 50 lakh bales in North India.

Talking to The Tribune, the ex-Chairman of the North India Cotton Association, Mr Ashok Kapoor, said that in the region, the estimated cotton production had come down by a few lakh bales. Attributing the shortfall to Haryana and Rajasthan, he said the quality as well as the quantity of cotton had gone down in both these states.

He said now the region was expected to reach a figure of 46-47 lakh bales. On the other hand, Punjab, he said, was marching ahead to attain its projected crop size of 25 lakh bales. He said the cotton arrival in the states markets had also been fast as compared to previous years. It seems the farmers are more or less happy with remunerative prices of cotton and they are not in two minds on marketing their produce, he added.

According to him, while small farmers were flocking to the markets, big farmers were still holding on to their stock hoping to cash in on a probable rise in prices at the fag end of the season.

The arrival of cotton in large quantities in the market had delayed its procurement forcing a section of farmers to spend chilly nights in the open awaiting the bidding of their produce. Nachhatar Singh, a farmer from Siwian village, rued that he had come to the market last Monday and he didn’t expect the bidding of his cotton to take place for another day.

On the other hand, market committee officials said 3,500 quintals of cotton was arriving daily and it was for the farmers to ensure that they unload their produce in the market at the right time.

The bidding takes place shop-by-shop and the farmers can avoid waiting for long by consulting their arhtiyas on the time to bring their produce to the market, they added.


Wheat varieties: PAU research under cloud
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, December 27
The stark similarity between the PBW 502 and PBW 343 varieties of wheat has raised a question mark over the credibility of research carried out by the Punjab Agriculture University (PAU) for developing new and improved varieties.

The Punjab Government has decided to hold an inquiry into the facts presented in a study carried out by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Roorkee. In the study that has been published in a journal ‘Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution’ published from Germany, the scientists of IIT Rookee have claimed that PBW 502 and PBW 343 varieties of wheat are genetically similar.

There is hardly any improvement in PBW 502 over PBW 343 as has been claimed by the scientists of the PAU.

Mr Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Parliamentary Secretary, Agriculture, while talking to The Tribune said, “We will get the facts examined by an independent panel of experts. The charges that farmers of the state have been taken for a ride in the name of improved varieties of wheat are very serious.”

PBW343 and PBW502 were developed by the PAU, Ludhiana, in 1994 and 2004, respectively. The scientists of IIT Roorkee used both wheat varieties as checks to investigate the relationship among wheat land races collected from remote hills of Uttaranchal along with other wheat varieties released in the 20th century.

The DNA marker profile, morphological traits, protein composition and incidence of various diseases were studied in them. The PBW502 variety was reported to be developed from a three-way cross between PBW343, Raj1482 and W485 varieties. But it was found that it was surprisingly almost identical to PBW343.

Theoretically, as per the parentage and crossing sequence, it should have only about 25 per cent similarity with PBW343. However, the similarity between them was much higher.

Mr Randhawa said that if the findings were true, then this is a serious scam regarding the development of wheat varieties at the PAU.

The PAU authorities are questioning the technical capability of the IIT, Roorkee, to carry out the study for identifying the various varieties of wheat.

However, the government is taking a serious note of the issue and if the facts present in the study are found to be true, the responsibility for it would be fixed on the authorities of the PAU.


Rs 4.28 lakh looted from bank
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 27
Four armed men struck at State Bank of Patiala (SBoP) branch at Kot Fatta village and decamped with Rs 4.28 lakh in cash today.

According to sources, the robbers, aged between 25-40 years, arrived at the bank in a car at 11.45 am. Initially, two of them entered the premises to assess the situation inside. The remaining two followed them after a while. They first pounced upon the security guard standing at the main entrance and overpowered him. Sources said a robber put his pistol at point-blank range and asked the guard to drop his rifle. When the latter resisted, one of them asked him to shoot him dead. He could not stand their threat and gave in. Sources said the robbers soon collected mobile phones from the customers present in the premises as well as staff members. They also snapped the bank’s landline phone connection. They then headed towards the cash counter and asked the cashier to put all cash into a bag. They locked the customers and the staff in a room before speeding away in their vehicle. The entire operation lasted for 15-20 minutes. Later, villagers freed those locked inside and informed the police.

Senior police officials including Bathinda zone IG Rajinder Singh, DIG P S Sarao and SSP Pramod Ban inspected the crime scene. A case has been registered against under Sections 392/34 of the IPC and the Arms Act.


22 farmers booked for attack on police
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 27
Even as the farmers continued protest by blocking traffic on Amritsar-Tarn Taran road for over two hours, the Sultanwind police booked as many as 22 agitating farmers, including convener of the Kishan Sangharsh Committee Kanwalpreet Singh Pannu, for murderous attack on policemen, besides obstructing the police personnel from discharging their duty.

Kanwalpreet Singh has condemned the registration of case against the farmers and said history stood testimony to the fact that this was perhaps the first time that the peacefully demonstrating farmers were subjected to lathi charge by the police.

He said the farmers were ready to make sacrifices for the fulfillment of their demands, which included waiving of electricity bills, loans and canceling of false cases registered against them.

Meanwhile, yesterday’s incident failed to demoralise the farmers who on the eighth day of the protest today blocked the traffic on Amritsar-Tarn Taran road for over two hours. However, the police remained defensive today.

In the meantime, the Fact Finding Committee constituted by the Association for the Democratic Rights, have termed the police action as undemocratic and suppressive act. Mr Yash Pal Chabal, general secretary of the association, demanded that the police officials responsible for the incident be booked and the demands of the peasants be discussed and resolved by negotiating with the farmers.


One held for poaching black partridge
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, December 27
The wild life officials of Gurdaspur have arrested poacher Uttam Chand and recovered feathers of black partridges and rabbit skin from him. The DFO wildlife Gurdaspur Mr Raj Shekhar said they raided the premises of Uttam Chand on a tip off and recovered remains of the wild animal.

The accused allegedly had killed birds and rabbits from Rak Nehar bir forest near Sarna. From the amount of feathers recovered it seems that the poacher had killed about three birds.

A case under the wild life act has been registered against the accused, he said.

Black partridge is an endangered variety of birds. Due to indiscriminate poaching and loss of habitat its population has been reduced. It is protected under Schedule IV of the Wildlife Protection Act. It is also the state bird of Haryana.


GND varsity makes affiliation rules stringent
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 27
Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU) would grant affiliation to new colleges and new courses and subjects strictly as per university provisions, while the approval to the UGC awarded add-on-courses to the affiliated colleges would be given after the finalisation of their syllabi and the inspection of the colleges.

Decisions to the effect were made by the College Development Council of the university, which met here today under the Chairmanship of the Vice-Chancellor Jai Rup Singh. The VC said that university would receive applications from affiliated colleges to start new courses by January 31 while the new colleges seeking affiliation to the university would submit their applications by December 1 every year.

The permission to start new subjects in colleges will be granted only after the completion of conditions and inspection by the university so that the admissions could be made in July. It was also decided that no college will be allowed to start any course or any additional unit without having the required staff and infrastructure. Regarding the approval to the appointment of teachers, the management committees will seek the approval from the university.

The VC said that university and college teachers will have duties on the flying squad during examinations. He told college Principals to send their names to the university for this purpose. He said that the examination centres for students under the distance education scheme would be set up only in colleges affiliated to the university.


Direct recruitment quota in educational services sought
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, December 27
Criticising abolition of direct recruitment quota in the Punjab Educational Services, the Gazetted Educational School Services Association, Punjab, has asked the Punjab Government to amend Punjab Educational Services (School and Inspection Cadre) Group-A Rules, 2004 to provide for 25 per cent direct recruitment quota as it was earlier.

Mr Joginder Singh Aulakh, president of the association, said here today earlier to accommodate scholars and good administrators from within and outside the school Education Department there was a provision of 25 per cent direct recruitment quota in the Punjab Educational Services (School and Inspection Cadre) Class-II Rules 1976 as well as the Punjab Educational Services (School and Inspection Cadre) Class-I Rules 1976. But according to new classification of the employees by the Punjab Government, the P.E.S. Class-II and the P.E.S. Class-I (School and Inspection Cadre) had been merged into a single common P.E.S. Group-A Cadre and for this cadre the Punjab Government had notified Punjab Educational Services (School and Inspection Cadre) Group-A Rules 2004.

Mr Aulakh said while formulating new rules the government abolished 25 per cent quota for direct recruitment besides making a provision for 100 per cent promotion. He said everywhere in the country in every department and every cadre there was provision for direct recruitment for scholars and good administrators from within and out-side the department to improve quality of services.


Randhawa is back as DPI, Secondary
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 27
The Punjab Education Department today carried out the transfer of two Directors, Public Instruction (DPIs). Nothing unusual, just that one of them was shifted out a few months ago amidst a raging controversy over promotions and transfers of teachers.

An order issued by the officiating Education Secretary, Mr T.R. Sarangal, today said the Deputy Director, Sarv Siksha Abhiyaan, Mr S.S. Randhawa, would go back as DPI, Secondary. He was shifted from this very post about six months ago. Ms H.K. Brar, who was working as DPI, Secondary, will be the new Deputy Director, Sarv Siksha Abhiyaan. Notably the orders have come at time when the Education Secretary, Mr Sarvesh Kaushal, is away on leave.

It may be mentioned that Mr Randhawa was shifted out six months ago when several teachers from Patiala had complained against him.


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